Bulldogs Hang Tough, But Fall To No. 1 Cincinnati, 75-68
Dec. 4, 1999
By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND - Naturally, Bob Huggins wasn't in a good mood.
Cincinnati's fiery coach warned his team at halftime that Gonzaga would come back. He ripped into the Bearcats for not hustling and said if they didn't, they'd get beat.
They didn't listen, and nearly paid for it.
Steve Logan scored 21 points and Kenyon Martin had 16 and four blocks to help No. 1 Cincinnati avoid becoming No. 25 Gonzaga's latest victim Saturday with a 75-68 victory in the Rock-N-Roll Shootout.
Martin added 13 rebounds for the Bearcats (5-0), who built a 20-point lead in the first half and then held on for dear life when the Bulldogs (4-1) rallied.
"I'm embarrassed," Huggins said. "I've never had a team play that lackadaisical. How many times did they take the ball right out of our hands? It was a lack of mental toughness, and that's very disturbing. If I could read what's in their little pea brains I could make a lot of money."
Huggins might be tough to please, but he knows this season's edition of the Bearcats is as good any he's ever had. So although it's December, he's coaching like it were March.
"We won because we're talented," he said. "But I want to win games when we compete, we work and we execute. And we're not doing it."
Gonzaga, last season's giant killer in the NCAA tournament when the Bulldogs knocked off Minnesota, Stanford and Florida before losing to eventual champion Connecticut, got within five points in the second half before the Bearcats finally put them away.
Richie Frahm scored 16 points, Casey Calvary 13 and Matt Santangelo had 12
points, six rebounds and six assists for Gonzaga, which couldn't overcome 28
percent shooting in the first half and the inside presence of Martin.
"I don't know if it was fear or the travel out here," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. "But we didn't come out. We've been chronicling slow starters all year and against this team you can't do that."
Logan, a Cleveland native playing in front of family and friends, went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers and had just two turnovers in 38 minutes. Like Huggins, Logan is looking for answers to why the Bearcats can't keep their intensity high for 40 minutes.
"The coaches stress putting our foot down and putting them away," Logan said. "But we didn't."
Logan opened the second half with two 3-pointers, Martin sliced to the basket through four Bulldogs for a monstrous dunk five as the Bearcats led by 16 points and looked like they were on the way to an easy win.
However, Gonzaga switched to a 2-3 zone defense and began to close the gap, and after Frahm drilled a 3-pointer, the Bulldogs were within 54-48 with 10:14 remaining.
Calvary sustained a cut under his left eye dunking over Martin, and after Mike Nilson made a free throw after replacing the bleeding Calvary, Gonzaga was within 56-51 with 8:46 to play.
But freshman guard Kenny Satterfield hit a runner in the lane, Pete Mickeal hit a jumper and three free throws put the Bearcats back in control.
Satterfield, a freshman from New York, had six assists and made several nice slashes to the basket when the Bearcats were flat offensively.
Gonzaga, which will play No. 10 Temple on Wednesday and 12th-ranked UCLA next Saturday, pulled within 68-61 in the final minute before Ryan Fletcher hit a big 3-pointer, and Cincinnati made four free throws in the final 28 seconds.
Cincinnati enjoyed a huge advantage at the free-throw line, making 24 of 29 attempts. Gonzaga, playing a No. 1 team for the first time in school history, was just 10 of 18.
With Cincinnati's defense overplaying every pass and switching on perimeter screens, Gonzaga couldn't get a clean look at the basket. The Bulldogs missed their first six shots before Mark Spink dropped a short left-hander from the baseline.
"They take away your strengths, and force you to go to your third and fourth options," Few said. "Now, every team tries to do that, but we haven't seen those kind of athletes doing it."
Martin, who had nine blocks in a win over Iowa State last week, rejected Axel Dench's layup and Cincinnati followed by hitting three straight 3-pointers en route to a 42-25 halftime lead.
In its sixth year, the Rock-N-Roll Shootout is sponsored by Gatorade.
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